Take care if you have to burn plas­tic silage wrap

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By BALA TIKKISETTY

As we ap­proach the end of win­ter, farm­ers who’ve been busy feed­ing silage or bailage the past few months will usu­ally have a good amount of silage wrap to dis­pose of.

Silage wrap is made of low den­sity poly­eth­yl­ene, a plas­tic which is read­ily re­cy­clable.

In ad­di­tion to re­cy­cling there have been two other op­tions for farm­ers – burn or bury.

These two op­tions – used fre­quently be­fore mod­ern re­cy­cling schemes – are now best avoided given the op­por­tu­nity to re­cy­cle. Re­cy­cling silage wrap means that the en­ergy used to cre­ate it is not lost.

It can be re­cy­cled into new prod­ucts such as Tuff Board for use else­where on the farm.

Re­cy­cling also helps avoid en­vi­ron­men­tal and stock health risks.

The Plas­back and Agre­cov­ery silage wrap re­cy­cling pro­grammes pro­vide re­spon­si­ble so­lu­tions for the dis­posal of used silage wrap.

Both Plas­back and Agre­cov­ery will pick up from your farm and will also take your agri­chem­i­cal con­tain­ers (rinsed), bale net, pit cov­ers and feed bags.

For more in­for­ma­tion, and to see which op­tion suits, check out plas­back.co.nz (free phone 0508 338 240) or agre­cov­ery.co.nz (free phone 0800 AGRE­COV­ERY).

While we gen­er­ally pre­fer re­cy­cling, we ac­knowl­edge that burn­ing and bury­ing of silage wrap are not pro­hib­ited un­der the re­gional plan.

Burn­ing is per­mit­ted as burn­ing of non- halo­genated plas­tics such as silage wrap does not pose the same health risk that burn­ing other types of plas­tic cre­ates.

How­ever, it is im­por­tant to point out that burn­ing large quan­ti­ties of wrap on its own still has the po­ten­tial to pro­duce lots of smoke that is not good for our health.

If burn­ing is the only op­tion, then it is im­por­tant to burn only small quan­ti­ties of wrap with dry green waste well away from neigh­bours to en­sure that nui­sance ef­fects of smoke are not cre­ated.

If there is no other choice but to burn the silage wrap:

Only burn in com­bi­na­tion with dry veg­e­ta­tion – this ma­te­rial will burn faster and more eas­ily.

Don’t burn on frosty morn­ings, foggy days or at night.

Burn as far away from prop­erty bound­aries as pos­si­ble.

Burn in small amounts rather than one large amount.

Only burn waste when there is enough wind to dis­si­pate the smoke quickly. Be aware of wind di­rec­tion. Above all, take all pre­cau­tions to avoid any risk of the fire spread­ing.

When burn­ing wrap, it is very im­por­tant to en­sure that the fire is very hot to re­duce harm­ful air­borne emis­sions. Any residue re­main­ing af­ter a fire should be dis­posed to land­fill as it is likely to be con­tam­i­nated and could pose a risk to stock or wa­ter­ways.

While on-farm burial of silage wrap is also al­lowed un­der the re­gional plan, stock deaths have oc­curred when it has been eaten af­ter be­ing un­cov­ered.

Dis­posal at an au­tho­rised land­fill has less po­ten­tial im­pact on stock and the en­vi­ron­ment and will also not re­strict the ex­ist­ing and fore­see­able land use.

Farm­ers wish­ing to bury silage wraps, ei­ther on their farm or at a pub­lic land­fill, should first com­press the wraps into as small a pack­age as pos­si­ble to help it stay in place.

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